You used to draw all the time. In classes, on napkins, when you should have been paying attention and sometimes in beautiful notes for friends. You made the best birthday cards. But you've lost the habit now, even though you think your old stuff was pretty good.

Or perhaps you've never really had the time, but you've always had the niggling sense that it's something that you could do. Maybe you're feeling creative, and it's time to let those feelings out. Or perhaps you're just bored.

Here are five modern illustrators that will inspire you to put pen to paper...

Liz Lomax

Sometimes you need to think outside of the box. Liz Lomax is a New York based artist who combines 3-D with 2-D in fascinating ways. Her bizarre, cartoonish images have been used by Miramax, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Rolling Stone. Her work shows that illustration doesn't have to be what you always assumed.

Michael Kutsche

Michael Kutsche is self-taught artist based in Berlin. His incredibly detailed work is precise and skillful, yet dynamic and abstract where it needs to be. Having worked for Disney, Marvel and Sony, his art might just be what inspires you to make your own alternative universe a vivid reality.

Roberto Parada

Roberto Parada is best known for his work in the world's big magazines - Time, Rolling Stone, Esquire and Playboy being just a few. His painterly style and amazing craftsmanship may initially make you intensely jealous, but you're sure to soon find yourself inspired.

Brad Holland

Brad Holland has a wonderful, unique, surreal and captivating style. It's soft and bizarre and strange all at once. His art shows that just a pen and paper is all you need - but you can use a lot more if you wish. Another self-taught artist risen to the ranks of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Playboy - we urge you to check him out.

Emmanuel Polanco

Emmanuel Polanco's immediately recognisable work has found itself in Time magazine, wildly popular children's books, and on the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Company. His collage work is another way that you can start looking at your artwork afresh - try a new technique and see where it takes you.

Now what?

Now that your creative juices are flowing again, it's time to take action. It's hard to be creative when life gets in the way and finding an artist to inspire you is the first way out of the rut. Learning a new skill to take your art in a different direction could be the second.

Liz Lomax and Emmanuel Polanco both use unusual techniques and you could say it opened creative doors for them, so learning something new or revisiting old skills might also be your way forward. You could have a go at doing this for free, although there are plenty of different drawing courses out there for you to try, even from your own home or in a drawing club.

It's often said that writers should always have a notebook with them, and if you want to really start drawing all the time then you have to make your tools part of your routine. Invest in a nice sketchbook - even the experts suggest that a little retail therapy can inspire.

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Every town has a drawing club - you never know what might result and who you might meet. Whatever happens - make time, relax, and enjoy what comes out of your brain. What unites all the artists above is a sense of fun (a sometimes menacing one, we admit), so embrace that and soon you'll be drawing all the time.